Being a member of the Blue Babble Band, it is definitely not a piece of cake upon what we do in every single game we go to. From an outside perspective, people would think it to be easy, to be something of no hassle, to be a thing to do just to fill up those free times, or like most organizations in the Ateneo, to be with people who you think are your kind of people. But in Babble, especially in the band, things are a little bit different.
The Blue Babble Battalion, dubbed as the Ateneo 6th man, is the pioneer cheering squad in the Philippines, starting out way back in 1920, they were definitely the ultimate crowd up-lifters of the Ateneo fans who watch NCAA (before) and UAAP sports. The Babble Band was the 6th man’s heartbeat whose drum beats and cheers hype up the crowd. Being a part of this one of a kind group was definitely a blessing to me. But with all those glorious things heard about the 6th man, it also has its downsides. In other words, the babble band for me was both a blessing and a curse.
To start it off, referring to the infographic below (which was made by a friend of mine who is also a member and is already in his senior year. So disregard the “games attended for the past three years”), you can clearly see how the band life eats all our time. So if you know someone from Babble, especially from the band, if you don’t see them often, now you’ll know why. Being a member of this team isn’t a project that has a deadline or something you can just do over the weekend like some organizations do. Neither is it like varsity teams whose games only last a couple of weeks or months only. If you are called to go to a game, you have to go, even if it causes your academic life and you have to sacrifice and cut classes for this. You can’t just simply brush aside your responsibilities of being a member and not go to them.
The band is also something that works like (what are motto is) a well-oiled machine. We always do stuffs together: play together, cheer together, work together, as a team. If someone doesn’t do his/her job, then it’d be like a broken gear and the whole team won’t work properly.
In relation to that, one of the highlights of our band works/performances is the basketball season which always happens during the first semester. Since the Ateneo’s men’s basketball team is the reigning champions, our “work load” is always longer compare to other pep squad drummers whose teams don’t make it to the finals. For this season, the Blue Eagles get to face arch rivals, the DLSU Green Archers for the final four. Since it has always been a tradition for the band to do a halftime drumline performance, we prepared a piece for the upcoming event.
The piece, if I’m not mistaken was created for at least a month while the practice took more than two weeks with everyday practices reaching up to 10-11 P.M. Because of the practices, we barely have enough time to study, do our requirements, or even sleep at the least, especially for the fact that the game took place two weeks before finals week. Enduring the stress for me was excruciating and that I had a hard time keeping up with my academics.
The day of the drumline has come. We were at the Blue Eagle Gym prepping up as early as 12 noon even though the game was still at 4 P.M. making final preparations to our equipment and finalizing and reviewing some elements that we will do for the drumline. As we arrived at our beloved Araneta Coliseum, thousands of fans, mostly La Sallians were lining up for entering the coliseum and this gave me both the excitement and tension for the game. The fact that Ateneo and La Salle haven’t met in the final four for a pretty long time and that La Salle entered the final four hyped up their fans and believing they will beat the Blue Eagles once and for all that’s why many of the fans who watched were La Sallians. Since the game was expected to start at 3:30 P.M., people were already filling up the big dome that we barely had acquired a place to set up our drums and play. It was also my first time seeing a coliseum filled during an Ateneo-La salle game. GAME TIME! So much tension in the air. La Sallians would often scream “Beat Ateneo, Animo La Salle!” which was something so phenomenal to hear from them that it gave me the chills. The responding “Go Ateneo, One Big Fight!” just made the game more exciting than ever.
And the halftime break has come. The Blue Eagles were leading so we started our halftime first. It was my very first time experiencing this in Araneta, standing at the court, in the middle of thousands of people, playing that 5 minute drumline performance felt like it took an hour or even more for me. I knew everyone was nervous for they might do something wrong, so as much as possible, I kept my cool, trying to relax as much as I can, enjoy and seize that once in a lifetime experience. For me, I think the reasons why we were so stressed during the whole game is that we never got enough rest for more than a week, it was very stressful to bring all those equipment when we have very limited people, and that simply, we were also playing our hearts out before and after the halftime. The game itself also contributed in our stress for it was a very close game, thinking we would actually lose to them after four years of reigning champions. In the end, the victory of the game and success of our performance was all worth the stress and effort we poured into it for the past few weeks. It was definitely a game I will forever remember in my college life.
– Justin Laurente, SA21 – Q
This is our halftime performance during the Ateneo-La Salle final four. ENJOY!